Kodiak Queen: Chapter 4: Scout

The warmth of summer disappeared, and the return of early spring temperatures resulted in the building spree coming to an end.  It was darn right cold, with long periods of heavy rain, which kept everyone inside their respective homes.  The bobcats had moved into their new cottage, which meant Pudgy’s underground home was less full. Patches the cat had come back to stay with Pudgy, as her tree house was too cold for her.  Pudgy’s wood stove was fueled and lit, keeping his underground home roasty toasty.  His friends would come for a visit, and then leave accordingly.  The dragon had not come to visit, which made Pudgy wonder what Cobalt was up to?   

Argente held fox school, with the bunnies in attendance, and Pudgy learned many things he did not know.  When it was not raining, Pudgy applied what he had learned, and made very quick trips outside. He gathered wild onions, berries, and mushrooms.  Argente said that the forest was full of food if you knew where to look, and the silver fox was right.  Having a tiny wagon of his own also helped immensely, as the Hedgehog brought back large quantities of items.  With large supplies to work with, Pudgy started to make jam to preserve his gathered supplies.  As yummy smells wafted through his home, and into the tunnel, visitors arrived wanting a sample.  The hedgehog laughed, offered tiny tastes to his friends, and then canned or jarred the rest.  Over the years of Pudgy living by himself, Cobalt had made various storage containers.  Some were purchased, but most were hand made.  This allowed Pudgy to store food for much longer periods of time.  The various supplies gathered from the store needed to be processed.    They needed a solid week of dry weather to dry out the grist mill, so grinding could begin for flour production.

With the skies being so full of clouds, and the near constant rain, no one could see what was going on with the procession of bears in the skies above.  So, after many days of terrible conditions, the skies finally started to clear.  Pudgy opened his front door, and looked up into the night sky.  The stars had returned to normal, with the exception of the Orion constellation.  The great hunter was still missing, having been scattered by the Bear Mother.  The hedgehog wiggled his nose, sad that he missed the end of the procession.  The forest seemed emptier somehow, which made sense because both Mr. Bear Junior and Senior were gone.  The departure of the large bears made the critter a bit apprehensive, as they acted as a hedge against any potential predators from that end of the forest.  Pudgy had never explored past the bear’s cabin, so he was unaware what may lie past the clearing?

The hedgehog heard movement out in the forest, and he started to scan the area from left to right.  Pudgy could not see anything out of the ordinary, so he turned around and headed back inside of his home.  While shutting the door, he could see a quick movement dart past the beaver pond.  Immediately, the critter locked and braced the door.  His heart was beating fast, “oh no!  The coyotes are back!”  Quickly he scampered through his home, and opened the interior door into the big storehouse.  He raced up, and braced the door, and turned to the former gathering room.  The store house as everyone called it now, was full of supplies for their village.  This room had to be kept safe, but also his friends needed to be warned as well.  The hedgehog quickly maneuvered through a hallway to get to the tunnel door.  Opening up the tunnel door, he pushed the button that turned on the lights.  

The pool of water was full, and starting to overflow into the french drain that ran behind the outer pipe wall of his home.  The field mice had written in crayon on the sign posted, “pool open!”  The tunnel was cold and damp, so there would be no swimming tonight.  As Pudgy laughed and shook his head, he quickly reached the wooden door to the bunny warren.  He began to knock on the door quickly, which eventually drew out a very sleepy Billie bunny.  “Pudgy, is everything ok?”  The hedgehog looked at the sleepy rabbit, “is Bobbi in there with you?”  The rabbit nodded as he was starting to fall asleep standing up.  Pudgy nodded, “ok, go back to sleep.  Do not go outside, it is not safe.”  The rabbit nodded, and shut the warren door.  Before Pudgy could turn, he felt a tug of his quills at his hip level.  Mrs. Field Mouse had heard the hedgehog, and come out to see what was going on.  Pudgy hugged her gently, “Pudgy saw a coyote outside.  Stay inside, Pudgy has to check on Argente.”  The timid mouse nodded, and she quickly scurried up the tiny path to the back door of her cave home.  

Slowly and carefully, Pudgy approached the tunnel exit door.  He unlocked only one side of it, and started to pull back the door slowly.  The forest was dark at this time of night, and with the cloud cover blocking the moon, it was hard to see very far.  Taking a deep breath, the hedgehog bolted out of the cavern, and scurried along the rock overhang.  He stayed as close to the hill side as possible, and then reached Argente’s cottage.  Quickly he tapped on the round window located on the front of the cottage.  A sleepy silver fox peeked out of the window at Pudgy, “stay inside Argente!  Pudgy saw a coyote.”  She immediately woke up, and looked behind the hedgehog.  “PUDGY RUN!”  The hedgehog did not look, and immediately took off for the tunnel.  He could hear the loud crunching noises as the predator was running behind him.   The hedgehog ran as fast as his little legs could carry him, and shot into the tunnel.  Turning to try and shut the door, a large snout was thrust into the tunnel opening.  Sharp teeth were barred, as the coyote barked loudly into the tunnel.  

“You think you are so smart, hiding under the ground!” The coyote taunted as he shouted inside the tunnel.  The second door was still holding on the left side of the tunnel, but the right could not be closed just yet.  So Pudgy decided to taunt back, “oh yeah mister coyote, Pudgy safe in here.  Why are you back, Cobalt and Mr. Bear whooped your friends.”  The predator snarled, “we are here to avenge our fallen cousins.  The white tail will succeed where the black tail failed, this land will be secured for our lead fang.  Now that the bears have left, there is no one to stop us from reclaiming our rightful forests.”  The hedgehog wiggled his nose, “you can not have our forest!”  The coyote sneered, “how can you stop us all?  Our kind is legion, with one howl, we will descend in such numbers that none can survive.”

The hedgehog pondered, “and what then?  If you make all go away, then what will you do?”  The predator grew quiet, not understanding what was asked of him.  He snarled, “you are trying to confuse me, whatever you are.  I will be back, when you least expect it, and my cousins will take care of the blue animal.  The bears have all gone away, so we must strike while we have this opportunity.  The large snout pulled out of the tunnel, and soon a quick burst of movement could be heard as the coyote ran off.  Pudgy’s heart was still beating furiously in his chest, but his worries had come to pass.  Now that the bears left, the coyotes were moving closer again.  Suddenly, Pudgy was knocked over when Argente ran into the tunnel.  The little hedgehog rolled  several times, and then landed against the rock wall by the bunny warren door.  The silver fox giggled, “sorry Pudgy, are you alright?”   

Pudgy wiggled his nose and waved at her, “Pudgy ok.”  The hedgehog got back to his feet and then scampered over to pull the door closed and lock it.  The bunny warren door opened, with Bobbi looking scared.  “Pudgy, what was all of that noise?”  Pudgy turned to the rabbit, “a coyote came back, and chased Pudgy back into the tunnel.  Pudgy was afraid that when Mr. Bear left, the coyotes would come back.  Pudgy was right,” the hedgehog said while wiggling his nose.  The rabbit nodded, “but we still have Cobalt.  He can protect us,” the rabbit said while nodding.  Argente nodded, “yes, but this also means we have to be aware that the forest is not safe again.  We need to be careful, what happens if Cobalt is not here when the coyotes come back?”  The bunny nodded, “Pudgy, are we good on supplies?”  The hedgehog nodded his head up and down, then looked at the tunnel door.  “Supplies are good … we need to reinforce this door.”

After the door was secured, Bobbi shut her door and went back into the warren to go to sleep once more.  The door to the storehouse was shut behind them, and then secured.  Returning to the interior of Pudgy’s living area, the door was also shut and secured.  Argente giggled when she saw Patches curled up and fast asleep in a corner.  Pudgy chuckled as well, and added wood to the fire box, before shutting the door.  Argente maneuvered to her spot, and then settled in as Pudgy covered her with a blanket.  Pudgy whispered, “Pudgy wanted to see if the bears were in the sky.  The skies are back to normal, with all the stars in their correct places, except for Orion.  That is when Pudgy saw the coyote.”  The silver fox nodded, “I wonder how long they have been out there ….. observing us?”

The hedgehog sighed, and shook his head, “Pudgy doesn’t know.  But Argente is right, we have to be careful again.  Cobalt can help us make the tunnel entrance more secure, and maybe make the coyotes go away again. But the new one said he was a white tail, the last one said he was a black tail.  He mentioned cousins, and with one howl …legions would come.”  The fox sighed and looked at Pudgy with her brown eyes, “every time we think we can relax, something comes up.  We need to check on Pope and Tess tomorrow, when the sun comes up.”  Pudgy rubbed her ears with his paws, smiled, and then scampered off back to his bed.  Upon reaching the bed, he climbed in and pulled up the covers.  Despite the coyote attack, he immediately fell asleep.  Though his sleep was not a restful one, with silly dreams, it was of the procession of twinkling bears in the skies.  The bears snaked all over the world, heading to the island that Cobalt had spoken of.  

Huge snow capped mountain peaks loomed in the distance, and violent ice covered ocean waves crashed all around the island.  The sea spray was freezing onto the rocks on the shoreline.  It was almost as if Pudgy was there, he could smell the ocean.  All warmth was sucked from his body, and he shivered terribly.   Then the sound of thousands of bears growling in unison filled the air, and thundered in his ears.  The sound was causing tremendous pain, the pain felt like his head was going to explode.  He cried out, shaking terribly, trying to get away.  He had to get away from the sound, maybe the ocean water would muffle it.  Then he got caught on a tree, and it wouldn’t let go.  He kicked terribly, but the sound was increasing, the skies were beginning to open up above the island.  Pudgy started to scream, and kicked violently trying to get away.  “PUDGY PUDGY WAKE UP!”  

The little hedgehog suddenly was back in his home, and felt a weight on top of his body.  Patches had pinned him down, and was trying to keep the hedgehog from hurting himself.  Argente was rubbing her nose, having been kicked by her friend.  She was concerned, “Pudgy, please calm down.  It was just a nightmare.  You are safe.  You kicked me in the nose!”  The hedgehog whimpered, “Pudgy awake.  Pudgy sorry.” Patches kept meowing in upset tones, and hugged the hedgehog, trying to calm him down.  When he finally came to, she started to relax and move backwards.  “Pudgy, what happened?”  As the little critter started to explain what he had been dreaming, the two females looked at each other.  Argente was the first to speak, “Pudgy, I don’t know why, but for some reason you seem to have dreams that turn out to be true.  I hope this is not something that does come true.  It sounds frightening to say the very least.”  The cat nodded her head in agreement, “I agree with Argente.  She also told me about the coyote attack I slept through last night.”

What the fox said was true, and the hedgehog worried that he would have to leave his forest once again.  With the humans gone, and the predators becoming more emboldened, the danger surrounding the forest was increasing.  Pudgy knew he had to help his friends, so he put the nightmare of bears aside.  The little critter focused on starting to make a fire in his wood stove.  Hot tea and breakfast was in order, before heading to the bobcat cottage to check on the married couple.  Patches settled down, and then sat watching the hedgehog with a worried expression.  The female fox across from her also watched, but settled as Pudgy wiggled his nose and filled his kettle with water.  

A tense breakfast ensued, with a worry hanging in the air of the underground home.  Yes: the tea and butter cookies were tasty, and the hedgehog was an excellent host as always.    But the two female animals were worrying as well, what would happen if Pudgy had to go away again?  More importantly, what would they do if Cobalt left again?  The hedgehog could tell that his friends were worried, so he headed over to get a new piece of blank paper and a crayon piece.  Pudgy titled it: defense plan.  Argente looked at him, then to Patches, and the trio began to plan.  Beefing up the tunnel defenses were in order, and log walls with a strong roof would be able to be covered with dirt to extend out the hillside in such a way that Argente would be able to access the tunnel with minimal external exposure.  

Patches nodded, “our new bobcat friends can serve as an early warning to us.  But how would they be able to signal us?”  Argente giggled, “Pudgy, do you still have your signal lamps?”  The hedgehog nodded, “yes, but they ran on fuel oil.  Pudgy unsure if I have any left?”  Pudgy wrote down the signalling process, and then sat thinking to himself.  The secret tunnel was still installed outside, which cut down on the time to get to Argente’s cottage.  But it was not large enough for  the cats … no .. leave it alone.  The hedgehog wiggled his nose, “we need to go check on the bobcats..”  The trio nodded in agreement, and after ensuring the woodstove was secured,  they left through the main living area’s front door.  Pudgy secured his door, and then scampered beside the silver fox and the cat.  The sun had finally returned, and the skies were blue once more.  The sun was warm, and drying the damp forest out.

Pudgy smelled coyotes everywhere, which means that there was more than one scouting the area.  As the trio of friends reached the creek, they followed it up to where the new cabin cottage had been built.  Tess was outside, scampering around decorating the cabin.  While Pope was busy checking the chinking between the logs.  He had found a slight air gap, and was busy trying to fix it.  Pope waved with a clay covered paw, “hello Pudgy … hello Patches …  and hello Argente!”  The female bobcat scampered around, and waved as well, “hello everyone!”  Pudgy waved, “hi Pope, Hi Tess! Are you two alright?”  The two bobcats looked a bit confused,  and then Tess spoke. “y … yes … why?”  Patches waved, “coyotes came last night.  They chased Argente into the tunnel, and then got partially inside.”  Argente nodded, “i’m ok.  Tunnel is fine as well, but we need to make it more secure.  We’re going to go to Cobalt’s cave, but we are also planning how to make the forest safer.”

Pope nodded, “sensible plan.  We will head over too.  All of you welcomed us here, and helped us build our home.”  Tess nodded and bounced happily, “yes we most certainly will help.  Is that what I have been smelling though …coyotes?”  The silver fox nodded, and watched as the female bobcat secured her home.  The group then started to scamper across the creek, through the woods, up the hill, through the clearing, past the former bunny warren, and up to the dragon’s cave.  Tess blinked, as she had not seen the changes made to the dragon’s home yet.  There was a log cabin front wall, with a sizable wooden door in the center.  There were two lamps with LED bulbs she recognized from their scavenge trips to the hardware store.  There were also a couple small solar panels positioned in certain ways, with conduits running between a gap in the log wall.  

Pudgy scampered up to the door and knocked on it, “Cobalt, are you home?”  The door started to open inwards, and split like french doors.  Cobalt poked his head out through the open doorway, “Hi Pudgy.  Oh, hello everyone, what are you doing up here?  Come on in,”  the dragon said while pulling his head back inside.  The curious critters scampered inside, and noticed that the cave was much bigger now.  There were no steps, but a smooth stove floor that sloped down to a large flat area.  The dragon was curled up, and able to sit in such a way to accomodate all of his visitors.  Pope noticed a fireplace, with a chimney pipe sticking up through the cavern’s ceiling.  Pudgy noted that the interior was much smoother, as the dragon had used some concrete leftovers to smooth out and patch portions of the cave.  The lights were mounted to the ceiling, and cast a soft faint blue light over the area.  

Tess giggled, “you need a colorful throw pillow Cobalt. I can sew you some …oh…wait….”  The bobcat said as she looked at her paws.  The group laughed softly, and Pope hugged his wife.  The dragon laughed, “well eventually I need a big blanket, for when winter comes.  The fireplace heats up this cave very well, though it is late spring cold and not deep winter cold.”  Argente giggled, “Cobalt, Pudgy wanted to ask you something for us.”  The hedgehog looked up at his dragon friend, “the coyotes came back last night.  They chased Argente into the tunnel, and the snout got inside.  Can you help us make the tunnel more secure?”  The dragon nodded, “I was wondering when they would come back?  Yes, we will strengthen the tunnel entrance.  I found some huge rocks I had to move to make the cave wider.  I will move them into place, so we can make the tunnel like the way your house was during the monster attacks.”

The animals nodded, and started to offer suggestions to their dragon friend.  Pope also got a chance to see how Cobalt worked out the power system.  Wires from the solar cells were connected to what looked like radio controlled car batteries, and then wired into a panel of sorts.  There was no way it would ever pass electrical inspection, but it worked fairly well.  There were still exposed parts, because the dragon was still tinkering with the system.  Stone shelves were in the process of being built, with boxes of candles stacked in places.  Cobalt laughed, “ok, everyone out.  Let us get going.”  The animals laughed and filed out one by one past the tool shelves, and through the doorway.  The dragon exited last, turned around, and then pulled his doors shut.  The wagon he used to move supplies was tucked away against the log wall front of his home.  The big stones were also sitting in a pile by the wagon, which he started to load into the wagon.  

Cobalt was amazed how much he could lift in his dragon form, and was getting used to many of the new processes of being an animal.  He still didn’t know how to make his wings work, but there was no rush on learning how to fly.  With the wagon loaded full of rock, Cobalt followed the critters back to the tunnel, with the wagon in tow behind.  As he was pulling the wagon along, the dragon started to smell something in the air.  This was also being picked up by Argente, whose ears perked up as she listened.  Pudgy scampered faster, and took off from the group towards the tunnel.  He smelled a coyote again, and when he reached the doors he started to work the lock to open the doors.  Mr. Field mouse was peeking out of his doorway and pointing, “everyone get inside!”

Pope saw the coyotes running from the direction of their cottage at top speed, with the teeth bared.  The howls and yipping was filling the air.  Cobalt let go of the fully loaded wagon, letting it pick up speed and crash into the space between the tunnel entrance and Argente’s cottage.  The dragon roared, bared his teeth, and made a pose as threatening as he could muster.  “GET INSIDE EVERYONE!” Cobalt shouted, and when one coyote was close enough, wailed with his right clawed paw at the coyote.  The claws connected, causing deep gouges in the flesh of the animal.  It was flung back several feet, and landed hard on its side. A second coyote lunged forward, which the dragon craned his neck forward, and opened his mouth.  Without realizing what he had done, the former human felt the coyote flailing in his jaws.  The sharp teeth were impaling the coyote, and with one firm chomp, the dragon split the coyote apart.  Blood was pouring out of the dragon’s mouth, causing the dying coyote to howl mournfully.

As the dragon whipped his head to the side, he spat out the deceased coyote from his mouth.  The dragon roared again, and then looked at the two dead coyotes in front of him.  There was a third peeking out from behind a tree that ran along the scary road where the delivery trucks once drove.  The brown coyote wore a look of terror on his face, and turned quickly to expose his white tail before quickly running off.  The smell of the killed animals wafted in the air, triggering something in the back of the dragon’s mind.  The hunger had taken root, and the coyotes were not just prey, they were food.  Cobalt couldn’t turn it off, and watched as his body involuntarily started to rip the animals apart.  As his body ate, the man was realizing this was in fact real, he really was eating an animal he killed.  

Meanwhile in the tunnel entrance a distance behind him, the critters were watching horrified.  Cobalt had killed the coyotes without any effort, but now was eating them.  Pope and Tess stood beside each other, trying to block the view of Pudgy and the bunnies.  Argente sighed, “he couldn’t hold it off any longer.”  Tess looked at Argente, “do you think that will happen to Pope and I also?”  The silver fox nodded, “at some point, your natural instincts will kick in.   Mother taught me many things, but there is this core memory that is within you, and it appears when you need it most.  I wish he had chosen to feed somewhere else though.”  The field mice were squeaking in terror, and swung their door shut quickly.  

The dragon turned around, with his eyes still glowing silver.  Blood was dripping out of his mouth, as he looked at the tunnel.  Pope blinked, “I think he’s still hungry!”  The animals quickly ducked inside the tunnel and shut the door quickly.  The bunnies hopped back into their warren, and shut the door.  Pudgy led everyone back into the tunnel proper, past the pool, and into the storehouse.  They had to hide, until it was safe to check on their friend.  Argente chose to remain at the tunnel entrance, and peeked through the doors.  There was a large crack to see what was going on outside, but not able for any animal to get inside.  As the dragon peered inside, he saw the timid silver fox’s brown eyes looking at him.  

The former human realized what he had done, with the reaction of the animals.  He frowned, “I’m sorry Argente.  I don’t know what happened?  I couldn’t stop.”  The silver fox sighed and whispered, “stay away for a while Cobalt.  I will explain to Pudgy and the others.”  The dragon nodded, and then got the large rocks out of the wagon.  He sunk them into the ground in front of the tunnel, and made it much more difficult for predators to be able to get inside.  While there were no log walls, or tunnels for that matter, the natural defenses would be sufficient for now.    Retrieving his wagon, Cobalt returned to his home.  The silver fox watched warily from inside the tunnel, before opening the door cautiously.  She headed outside to explore, and see what Cobalt had done.  The rocks were positioned correctly, and would not interfere with their use of the tunnel.  She saw the dragon stowing away the wagon once more beside his home.  Turning to look back at the critter tunnel, he saw Argente watching him, before giving her a sad look and then walking further up the hill.  

Argente sighed, “now how am I going to explain this to the others?”  She felt a slight tug at her tail, and felt the quill covered hedgehog scamper up beside her.  “Where is Cobalt going?”  The hedgehog asked as she looked at her with a frightened expression.  The silver fox hugged him close, “I told Cobalt to go away for a while.  Pudgy Mr. Bear and Mr. Dinor, Cobalt is a predator.  When he has fed, he can think correctly.  The human side of his mind can work out these wonderful creations, build things, take us for wagon rides, and hug.  But the animal side is taking over, and especially so when  the hunger kicks in.”  Pudgy wiggled his nose, “Pudgy will make cookies!”  The fox giggled, “all the cookies in the world will never be enough Pudgy.  It would fill him up, but he would get sick.  No … he needs meat.  I wonder how long it has been since Cobalt was last fed?”  The little hedgehog looked at his silver fox friend, and hugged her back closely.  When he stopped to think about it, the last time he saw Cobalt eating was when they went to the grocery store and ate the blue cans of compressed meat.  That had been over a week ago, which meant that he had been starving this entire time.

“Pudgy have to go find Cobalt, what if he doesn’t come back again?”  The silver fox held him tightly, “no!  Pudgy, we need to leave him alone.  Cobalt is our friend, once he is well once again, he will return to us.  The hunger only lasts for so long, and will subside.  Why do you think I wander off sometimes for a long time?”  The hedgehog looked at her, and snuggled closer, “but Pudgy makes you tea and cookies!”  Argente giggled, “and they are wonderful.  I love all of the food you make.  Sometimes though, it isn’t enough, and I need to go away to feed.  Remember the day you saw me eating ants?”  The hedgehog nodded, and pondered while peeping at the disappearing dragon.  In time the forest was quite once more, with the occasional chirp of the birds.  Pudgy released his friend, and then scampered inside the tunnel.  Argente padded along behind him, and watched as the tunnel doors were shut.  

The bunnies peeked out of their warren door, “is it safe to come out?”  Pudgy nodded, “Cobalt made the coyotes go away, and then he went away.  Pudgy needs a drink of water,”  the hedgehog said while scampering down the tunnel.  With the silver fox, and then two gray fluffy bunnies following, they returned to the store house.  Pope, Patches, and Tess had already entered Pudgy’s home and were sitting around the table.   As the hedgehog entered, he washed his paws in his sink.  Then began to fill cups of cool water, and pass them around.  Once all had been served, Pudgy sipped from his tiny mug. 

Argente told everyone what she had told Pudgy, and the room was very quiet.  The bunnies, and field mice were confused, and required a different explanation.  After two refills for water, and then 2 more cups of hot tea, all in attendance understood what had happened.  The realization that Cobalt was no longer human fully set in.  Pudgy wiggled his nose, worrying for his friend, and wondering what he was doing?  Eventually talk of scary things subsided, and the natural laughter of the critters filled the room.  The bunnies had discovered the defense plan, and were playing with the crayon pieces.  They noted that there were not enough bunnies on the map and lists.  So as colorful bunny faces started to appear, Pope and Tess laughed and asked for them to add things to the list.  

The daylight strengthened, and then started to fade, which signalled it was time for Pope and Tess to leave.  After many hugs, and worried looks, the front door was opened.  The forest seemed to be clear of any coyote presence, so the two bobcats started to run as fast as their legs could carry them.  Pudgy noticed they were surprisingly quick, and made it over to their cottage cabin in a couple of minutes.  The married couple ducked inside of thier home, and shut the door quickly.  Pudgy and his friends went back inside of his home, and shut the door as well.  The bunnies and field mice returned to their homes through the tunnel, and soon Pudgy was with Patches and Argente once again.   As the hedgehog poured another round of tea that had lost its warmth, the silver fox sighed.  “Thank you Pudgy, I knew this day would come.  I just hoped it would have only been myself to have seen it.  Now our friends are afraid of Cobalt,” she said while Patches nodded.  “I admit, I too feel hungry.  I used to eat the mice, but these two are so nice, I don’t want to.  I worry too, what would happen if I lost control?”

Pudgy sighed, “Pudgy needs to do more baking.  But to make stuff big enough, need human sized oven. Maybe Cobalt….could…..” he trailed off and started to whimper a bit.  In time, the tea was drunk, and the home was secured once more.  Pudgy tucked in his friends under the blankies, and then went to his room. For the first time in a long time, he shut the door to his room.  As he climbed into bed, the hedgehog started to whimper again.  He was scared of and for his former human friend at the same time, and he was confused. As the critter fell asleep, the smell of the ocean filled his nose once more.  It was twilight, and the island could be seen in greater detail.  Sitting around the rocky shoreline, were bears of all kinds and sizes.  White Polar bears, huge grizzly bears, black bears, brown bears, gray bears, koala bears, and even panda bears also.  They were all huddled beside one another, looking out into the ocean.  A familiar voice called out, “Pudgy!”

As the hedgehog turned, he saw Mr. Bear Junior and Senior waving at him.  Pudgy opened his mouth, but no sound came out. He tried to move, but could not make his paws move.  The stars were shining brightly in the skies above the island.  There were no clouds, and the moon was full.  It was so huge, it seemed like you could touch it.  Pudgy hoped the moon dinosaurs were ok, but then remembered the bears.  The bears were continuing to walk in the skies above the island, but were descending down a bridge of ice that stretched across the ocean.  The ocean smell faded, and the bears all began to disappear, with Pudgy floating in a void of darkness.    

Pudgy opened his eyes, and found he was still in his bed.  It was another prophetic dream, which seemed to indicate that his bear friends had made it safe to the island.  Yawning, he was still tired, so he shut his eyes once more, and drifted back to sleep.  This time, it was a dream where he was surrounded by unlimited cookies of all shapes and sizes.  The smells were wonderful, the cookies were warm, and the chocolate was gooey delicious.  As the hedgehog nibbled on cookies, and looked around the bakery case, he could see that where the store used to be was now only a void of darkness.  The void was approaching, and it swallowed up the case, then the cookies started to disappear, and then only Pudgy was there in a void of darkness.  Pudgy whimpered, “no, not the cookie dream!”  An unfamiliar voice echoed in the void, “who is this?  Why are you here?”

Before Pudgy could speak, he felt his body being violently pushed away.  The hedgehog’s eyes opened once more, and he found himself in his kitchen looking up at the wood panels in his ceiling.  Patches and Argente were peeking from behind  the table at him. “Good Morning, I see I missed something.” Pudgy said while regaining his bearings, while the room stopped spinning.  The cat padded over and looked down at him with her pale blue eyes, “Pudgy, the door to your room swung open, and then you were thrown out of your bed.  All the way over here!”  Argente nodded, “Pudgy what is going on?  This is the second night where you are getting thrown out of bed.”    The hedgehog explained the first dream with all of the bears sitting around the island, the ice bridge stretching across the ocean, and the bears arriving.  Patches nodded, “ok, that doesn’t seem so bad.  I am glad Mr. Bear and his father got there safely.”  The critter stood up with the cat’s help, and explained about his cookie dream.

Argente giggled, “somehow I always assumed you would dream of being stuck in a bakery for a dream.”  As he got to the part of the spreading void that swallowed the bakery, case, and then the hedgehog: the females’ expressions changed back to a look of concern.  The creepy voice that cast him out from the void, was the part Pudgy was most confused about.  “It sounded female, and deep.”  Patches the cat nodded, “yes, and then you were flung out of your room for good measure too.  Pudgy, what if you were not dreaming?”  The silver fox looked up, with her ears perked up, “do you think Pudgy was in the sky like the bears?”  The cat nodded, “it would make sense.  He watched Mr. Bear and his Father ascend, and then travel off with the Mother of all Bears.  Was he using the same process to travel there, and she found out?”  Pudgy rubbed his chin with his paw, “that makes sense.  Maybe Pudgy did use the twinkle process, but how did Pudgy do that?  And why was Pudgy put right back here?”  Argente nodded, “all good questions Pudgy.  I do not know.  And the only ones who might have known, are not here right now to ask.”

The hedgehog looked at the silver fox, “Pudgy can ask Alabaster!  The owls would know what is going on?”  The fox nodded, “yes, but Pudgy, what happens when you leave?  We need you here, the village needs its mayor.”  The critter chuckled, “Wait, when did Pudgy get elected mayor?”  The cat giggled, “oh, we all nominated you, and you won with a majority vote.  Billie bunny voted for himself,”  the two female animals laughed.  As Pudgy wiggled his nose, “what does mayor do?”  As they explained it was exactly what he was doing right now, the job was easy to pick up.  “Ok, Mayor Pudgy first official act is to hug Patches and then Argente.”  The hedgehog laughed, and proceeded to give each of his friends a big hug.  As they returned the embrace, they put the kitchen back the way it was before.  Then it was time for tea and breakfast, and to plan the village’s next moves.  

By Cobalt

Cobalt is a normal guy that goes to work. Pudgy is his hedgehog friend who lives in a hobbit style home nearby, and goes on epic adventures. All Pudgy stories are copyrighted to Cobalt. Doomcock, Harvey Cthulhu, and Xanadoom is copyrighted to Overlord DVD.

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